Our genetic dissection of behavior has isolated scribbler (sbb), a vital gene that encodes a novel protein expressed in the embryonic and larval nervous systems and in the imaginal discs. Larvae with mutations in sbb exhibit abnormally high amounts of turning behavior in the absence of food. sbb is a large gene spanning >50 kb of genomic DNA with four major developmentally regulated transcripts. Transgenic rescue of scribbler behavior was demonstrated by targeting expression of a normal sbb transgene (sbb(+)) expressing one of the major transcripts to the nervous system. The vital function of sbb was restored by ubiquitous expression of this transgene throughout development.